Train Travel

ICE-Koln

German ICE (Inter City Express) departing Cologne.

Although a passenger train is little more than commuter transportation in many countries, in Europe, the orient and Asia, train travel is the method of travel most people use. Since passenger rail transportation is so popular the rail networks are extensive, schedules are convenient and the overall service quite good.

Of course everyone has seen photos of overloaded trains in India and Asia with passengers riding on the roof of the cars or clinging to the sides. Unsafe to say the least. Anyone not knowing the context of such photos or videos probably shudders at the though of being squeezed into train cars like a sardine in a can, never mind forced to cling for dear life to the roof or sides. The truth is there are countries with overloaded train services at certain times of the day, or on specific routes. The morning rush hour in populous cities like New Delhi, India, is no less hectic than it is in Tokyo, Japan. In both cities public transport is overwhelmed at peak hours. What no one photographs is the off hours when there are numerous vacant seats. It’s another of the misconceptions people have about travel because the information they receive is delivered out of context and presented in such a way as to misinform, rather than inform.

Plus, most of the people seen riding on the exterior of rains, trolley cars, and even buses are doing so by choice. No one paid to drive a bus or trolley car can stop every few meters to chase people off the exterior of their vehicle. Even if they did, those they chased off one would just climb onto the next one going into the same direction. Likewise, no conductor in his right mind is going to climb up on the roof of a moving train to check passengers’ tickets. So these people are riding for free, which is the real reason they’re clinging to the exterior of moving vehicles and trains. They also cling onto delivery trucks too, but no one bothers to take photos or videos of them doing so. The reason is that they know they are hitching a ride on a truck, but assume with public transport it’s being done because there’s no option. It’s a rather bigoted assumption, based on arrogance at best. But that’s the point of becoming well traveled and learning about the countries and people you visit. Then when you see such photos or videos you’ll immediately wonder what time of day it is, or which route is so busy, rather than assume there’s so little public transport people risk their lives clinging to he outside of moving trains and vehicles.

The reality is that almost all rail services today have the option to pre-book berths or seats on trains. It costs a little more, but if having a seat is important to you the option to have one guaranteed exists. Of course there are the occasional seat squatters, but they’re usually trying to save money by not pre-booking a seat and will vacate when asked.

Below is a list of all countries. Those highlighted with coloured text have passenger railroads…

A
Afghanistan
Albania
Algeria
Andorra
Angola
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Armenia
Aruba
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan


B
Bahamas, The
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belarus
Belgium
Belize
Benin
Bhutan
Bolivia
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Brunei
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Burma
Burundi


C
Cambodia
Cameroon
Canada
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Chile
China
Colombia
Comoros
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Congo, Republic of the
Costa Rica
Cote d’Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Curacao
Cyprus
Czech Republic


D
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic


E
East Timor
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Estonia
Ethiopia


F
Fiji
Finland
France


G
Gabon
Gambia, The
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana


H
Haiti
Holy See
Honduras
Hong Kong
Hungary


I
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Israel
Italy


J
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan


K
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kiribati
Korea, North
Korea, South
Kosovo
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan


L
Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg


M
Macau
Macedonia
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia
Maldives
Mali
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mexico
Micronesia
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Mozambique


N
Namibia
Nauru
Nepal
Netherlands
Netherlands Antilles
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Niger
Nigeria
North Korea
Norway


O
Oman


P
Pakistan
Palau
Palestinian Territories
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal


Q
Qatar


R
Romania
Russia
Rwanda


S
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Saint Maarten
Slovakia
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Korea
South Sudan
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Suriname
Swaziland
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria


T
Taiwan
Tajikistan
Tanzania
Thailand
Timor-Leste
Togo
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Tuvalu


U
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States of America
Uruguay
Uzbekistan


V
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam


Y
Yemen


Z
Zambia
Zimbabwe


If you’ve taken a train to see the sights anywhere in the world, please share your experience with other travelers by adding a review in the comment section below. Thank you!


2 Comments:

  1. Exactly. It’s all about context. If anyone from the UK is worried about European trains – then don’t be. They ARE different. More punctual, less crowded (much less crowded in “off peak” hours). And not so stupidly expensive.

    Enjoy.

    • Iain… Yeah, and people are always telling me flying is best. I explain that I’d sooner take a walk to a lounge or dinning car than be served plastic containers of food and drink in my grossly cramped seat on a plane. Plus, when I want to get off a train to explore an interesting town I see from the window, I don’t need a parachute to do so 😉

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